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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr C from Leicestershire

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

4

Excursions taken

0

Tanzania

Tanzania between 22 Sep 2007 and 2 Oct 2007

Trip rating: Excellent
"A truly memorable experience"

Arranged By Claire Scott


Arusha Coffee Lodge

Arusha Coffee Lodge

"Overnight stops"

1 night Arrived 23 Sep 2007
"A welcome break at the start and finish of our holiday. One minor point we thought we had only B&B but Expert Africa's team in Tanzania had booked us full board - not a problem!

Rooms excellent - food excellent - service excellent"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Chada Camp

Chada Camp

"Chada Camp"

3 nights Arrived 24 Sep 2007
"By chance we were the only guests here for the three days. The whole experience was wonderful with expert guides and great staff and managers. This was the most memorable experiance of our lives.

At Katavi, by some fluke of the booking system, we found ourselves the only people staying there for the three days. At first we thought this might be a problem but in fact it was a total privilege. We were treated to the undivided assistance of Silvanus Mbise who proved to be a truly wonderful guide and more than that, companion for our time at the camp. The other staff and Richard and Anna, as the camp managers, were also without fault. We were made to feel really welcome the whole time we were there despite the fact that it was Richard's last three days in charge and he undoubtedly had other things to be arranged.

The tented accommodation was better than we had expected and one got used to the fact that water was in short supply here and having a shower whilst being watched by a monkey was a new experience!

We have to mention the food: how your chef managed to produce food that would be appreciated in a good restaurant anywhere in the middle of Katavi was inexplicable.

The range and extent of the wildlife that we were shown was awe inspiring and I will never forget Silvanus's tracking of a leopard from a kill-site to the animal lying on a tree branch just above our heads. He managed to get the Landcruiser into areas that I don't think I could have got a bicycle!

All-in-all Katavi was an absolutely unforgettable superb experience due, in no small part, to your great staff and managers."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Greystoke Mahale

Greystoke Mahale

"Mahale Camp"

4 nights Arrived 27 Sep 2007
"At Mahale we also had a great experience in an area in complete contrast to Katavi, which was after all our intent and your company's intent in linking these two sites for this trip. Again the camp staff, managers and guides were excellent and once again the chef managed marvels (how do they do it?).

The experience of walking through the forest/jungle areas was new to us as we had only been in Katavi-like areas before. On two of the three walks we managed to get to see the chimps at relatively low levels and in areas where we could see them easily. The sight of the alpha male charging past waiving a stick to emphasise his position was a humbling experience. I was just glad he was ignoring us!

I do however have to make a few negative comments. I am only doing this because I fear that you might be hearing from others who were in our group and their comments might be more negative.

Could I first say that our group may have been atypical in that, apart from two late twenty year olds, who had recently climbed Kilimanjaro, we were all 60+ years old. Now being 60+ is not a barrier in itself and those of us who were used to mountain walking were equipped with suitable walking boots/sticks etc. and were reasonably fit: the same could not be said for some of the others.

There were people who had never done any serious walking and were wearing footwear that was woefully inadequate and trousers that did not cover their legs. This led to them slipping and falling on the dry sandy steep paths. The good news was nobody was seriously injured, just a few cuts and bruises.

The first day trekking to find the Chimps was one of those days when the chimps started off high up and just carried on up. This led to us being out on an 8 hour walk through some very rough terrain, indeed one member of the group was out for 10 hours, having to be escorted back at a very slow pace by one of the guides. All members of the group, including the twenty year olds, were pretty well exhausted when we returned but some of them were exhausted to the point where they were a danger to themselves. Those of us who have some experience of distance walking, including the Kilimanjaro pair, also felt that for a walk of that distance and in the humid conditions, the water supply was inadequate and perhaps food was required.

I am aware that nobody can predict where the chimps will move after the start of the walk but I feel that the cause of the problem is the fact that it is not made as clear as perhaps it could be, by both the travel companies booking your camps and indeed in some of your Internet pages, just how tough some of the walks can be.

I appreciate that the first walk may have been the only chance we had to see the chimps and that therefore the camp managers and the guides were determined to try to get us to them. But perhaps this determination may blind them to the capabilities of some guests. However I feel that some greater assessment of the abilities of some guests would help avoid the situation we found ourselves in, with some of us having to drop back to help people who were really struggling on the descent.

That said, we managed to view the chimps on each of the three days we went out looking, and indeed on the second and third days the chimps were found within a couple of hours walk. There is therefore no criticism of the ability of the guides and trackers in finding the chimp groups.

Overall therefore I felt that more advice should be given to potential guests as to exactly what sort of walking can be involved. It was quite apparent that others in the party had no idea of the potential extent or difficulty of the walks. I had booked via Expert Africa in the UK and had specifically asked about the possible severity of the walking and even they had I feel somewhat understated the situation. I feel that if people turn up at the camps who are quite clearly not well equipped, either fitness wise or footware/clothing wise, that it should be made very clear that if the chimps are some distance from the camp that a severe walk may be involved and then it would be up to them whether they went or not.

The main sufferers in our group were four American ladies who all seemed to be planning to write to complain so I felt that I should give my view as perhaps a balance. The other camps they had visited were ones where they were transported in jeeps etc. and I got the impression that they did not really take in the fact that this camp was very different.

I must however stress that this problem on one day did not spoil the holiday and we had a really great time at both Katavi and Mahale. Both the camps were superbly run and your staff excellent both at the camps and during transits. We would be very happy to recommend this trip to anyone (who could do the walking)."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Arusha Coffee Lodge

Arusha Coffee Lodge

"Arusha Part 2"

1 night Arrived 1 Oct 2007
"Comments as before. [These travellers stopped here for a night at the start and end of their visit to Western Tanzania.]"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent

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